What Type Of Pain Medication Will I Take After My Total Knee Replacement
Most patients require some form of narcotic analgesic in the early postoperative period after their surgery. Each patient is different in how they respond to this type of pain medication and while others may have been prescribed one medication, this may not work the same for you as it did for them. As such, the first line medication may be different to a family member or friend to whom you have spoken who has already had their knee replaced. We usually use medications such as hydromorphone and oxycodone in conjunction with medications such as Tylenol.
You are able to take these two medications together as their mechanism of action is different. It is important to remember that these medications do have side effects and experiencing nausea, constipation or drowsiness are all recognized side effects of narcotic analgesics. It is important to stick to the dosing schedule that your physician has indicated to you and that your pharmacist will reiterate to you at the time of filling your prescription.
Taking too many narcotic analgesics can result in worsening side effects without the benefit of improved pain relief and can even depress your respiratory drive causing you to breathe slower or stop breathing altogether. As such, it is essential that you do not exceed the maximum indicated dose on your prescription or medication container.
Returning To Activities / Sports
With knee replacement recovery time is one of the biggest healers. Over time the swelling will reduce, your muscles will get stronger and your knee should free up becoming more flexible than beforehand.
It is important to take things easy for the first few weeks but after that, you can start thinking about returning to your favorite activities. Here are some helpful tips on knee replacement recovery time:
- You can resume most activities after 6-12 weeks, for example swimming
- Some activities should be carried out with care e.g. golf dont wear shoes with spikes
- Some activities are not advised following a total knee replacement as they put too much stress on the new knee joint. These include: jogging, contact sports e.g. basketball and football, squash, badminton, jumping activities and skiing. If you are unsure, discuss things with your doctor.
Pain and swelling can take up to 3 months to settle and knee replacement recovery time continues up to 2 years after your operation.
Bilateral Knee Replacement Recovery Tips
When you have a bilateral knee replacement, the recovery phase plays a vital role in helping you resume normal activities quickly. The recovery and rehab process can help you heal faster after surgery and improve the long-term outcome of the surgery. Here we discuss the recovery time for knee replacement and six bilateral knee replacement tips.
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How Long Do I Need To Use A Bandage
The initial bandage often gets soaked with fluid and blood. Drainage after surgery should gradually decrease after 48 hours, and then Band-Aids are usually sufficient over the small incisions. If desired, dry sterile gauze pads and an Ace wrap can be continued to protect the incisions from irritation from clothing, pets, young children, etc. Once the incisions are completely dry the use of a bandage is optional.
Life After Knee Replacement
The goal of knee replacement surgery is to improve your quality of life and restore function that has been lost as a result of arthritis in the knee, there are a number of activities that knee replacement patients find that even years after the surgery, they are unable to do comfortably. The most common complaint in knee replacement patients is that they have difficulty performing tasks that require kneeling. This is normal and whether or not the patient has had their kneecap replaced as part of their knee replacement does not seem to affect this phenomenon.
Total knee replacement prosthetic components
The image shows the prosthetic components consisting of cobalt chromium alloy metallic tibial and femoral components and polyethylene insert. The femoral component and insert are cruciate retaining. The choice between cruciate retaining and posterior stabilized implant is made depending upon the disease in the knee joint and the integrity of the posterior cruciate ligament.
Modular femoral and tibial components along with polyethylene insert
Modular prosthetic components differ from primary knee replacement components as they allow the surgeon to make intraoperative changes. The surgeon may add bone augments or stems to achieve additional stability. The constrained insert allows stable range of motion.
Modular femoral component
Femoral component stem
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Knee Replacement Is Life Changing
A knee replacement has the potential to change your life completely. Instead of facing disability caused by knee pain and limited mobility, you can return to an active lifestyle after a knee replacement. Many patients report that a knee replacement has completely changed their lives.
Prime Surgical Suites offers outpatient knee replacement and many other outpatient procedures. We use the very latest in advanced medical technology to care for patients and provide them with superior recovery results. Outpatient knee replacement procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art surgical facility that offers the best in patient safety and comfort. From an inviting lobby to advanced operating rooms combined with cutting-edge technology, patients enjoy the highest standards of care along with a medical team thats caring and trustworthy.
At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region’s first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.
What Should I Expect During Weeks 6 Through 12
This period after joint replacement is a time of continued improvement. You will probably notice an increase in energy, a desire to do more activities, and a noticeable improvement in your new joint. Please keep in mind that every patient is different and will improve at different pace. If you are not happy with the pace of your recovery, please contact your surgeons office to discuss your concerns.
After your six-week follow-up visit, you will likely start using a cane to walk and move about. Use the cane until you return for your 12-week follow-up visit. Walk with the cane as much as you want as long as you are comfortable.
Back to work
Many patients return to work after the six-week follow-up visit. Tips to remember for returning to work include:
- Avoid heavy lifting after you return to work.
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
- Avoid activities such as frequently climbing stairs or climbing ladders.
- Avoid kneeling, stooping, bending forward or any position that puts the new joint under extreme strain.
- Expect a period of adjustment. Most people return to work with few problems. However, you may find the first several days very tiring. Give yourself time to adjust to work again and gradually this should improve.
Continue exercise program
Comply with all Restrictions
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Tips To Speed Your Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery
Nearly half of American adults will develop knee arthritis at some point during their lives. Pain, stiffness, and limited mobility are often the result of knee arthritis. Knee replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore function when your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury. The average recovery time from knee replacement surgery is approximately six months, but it can take roughly 12 months to fully return to physically demanding activities. Though the recovery process can be long, there are steps you can take to heal well and enhance your recovery speed.
How Long Is Knee Surgery Recovery Time
Knee surgery does not end once you leave the operating room. The recovery time afterwards is a crucial part of the healing process. If you attempt to do too much too soon or fail to follow you doctors orders, you may injure yourself worse and limit your chances of a full recovery. The recovery time after knee surgery can range from as little as three months to up to a full year. Each case is different and unique.
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Looking After Your New Knee
- continue to take any prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to help manage any pain and swelling
- use your walking aids but aim to gradually decrease the amount you rely on them as your leg feels stronger
- keep up your exercises to help prevent stiffness, but do not force your knee
- do not sit with your legs crossed for the first 6 weeks after your operation
- do not put a pillow underneath your knee when sleeping as this can result in a permanently bent knee
- avoid twisting at your knee
- wear supportive shoes outdoors
- do not kneel on your operated knee until your surgeon says you can
- raise your leg when sitting and apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours to reduce any swelling
Page last reviewed: 02 August 2019 Next review due: 02 August 2022
Returning To Normal Activities
Your surgeon or care team will advise you how long it’s likely to take to fully recover and what activities you should avoid until you’re feeling better.
You’ll probably need at least two weeks off work, although this varies from person to person some need more, while others need less. This will largely depend on whether your job involves strenuous activity that could damage the joint. For a desk job without the need to walk long distances, two weeks is a realistic amount of time. A job involving more strenuous work may require anything between four and twelve weeks to recover enough to allow normal activities.
You’ll be able to drive again once you’re able to do so without experiencing any pain and you can safely perform an emergency stop. This may not be for a few weeks or several months after surgery. Your surgeon/physiotherapist/GP can give you more specific advice.
They can advise you on how long it will be before you can undertake strenuous physical activities, such as heavy lifting and sport. For many people, this will be around six weeks after surgery, but in some cases it may not be for several months.
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Tips For Speeding Up Recovery After Knee Surgery
The good news is that patients can take measures to speed up their recovery. A few tips to speed up recovery include:
- Tip #1 Manage the Pain Make sure you accurately describe the pain youre experiencing to your physician. Is it burning, sharp, tingling, achy? Be honest about how much pain you have. Some people dont want to complain, and others dont like taking medicines. However, remember that effective pain management wont just reduce pain but also speed up recovery.
- Tip #2 Get Walking Start walking regularly as soon as your doctor says you can. Walking will help prevent complications, and it boosts circulation, helping you heal faster. Expect to use a walker for the first couple of weeks, but youll soon be able to walk alone.
- Tip #3 Physical Therapy Physical therapy is essential for recovery after a knee replacement. Learning the right exercises to rehabilitate your knee and the surrounding muscles after surgery is critical. You can do exercises with a therapist and then do them at home, too.
- Tip #4 Exercise Doing safe physical activity once your doctor allows it will help strengthen your muscles. Remember, exercising shouldnt cause you pain. While exercise is great, avoid pushing too hard. You dont want to injure yourself and slow your recovery.
- Tip #5 Adequate Rest Rest is just as crucial to recovery as walking and exercising. After surgery, apply ice and keep your leg elevated. Proper rest will help you get back to an active lifestyle faster.
What Is Knee Replacement
What is Knee Replacement Used For?
Total knee replacement is usually used:
- To relieve pain caused by severe arthritis
- To restore function to an arthritic knee
- To correct significant deformity
- For severe patellofemoral arthritis
Total knee replacement may be considered when other treatments have failed to relieve the pain, which must be significant and disabling.
About 82% of total knee replacements last 25 years and can be affected by a patients activity levels. The procedure is usually reserved for older patients who perform modest activities or younger patients with limited function due to severe arthritis.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Tips
Here’s some top tips for four common questions about total knee replacement recovery time:
You can find the answers to loads more similar questions in the total knee replacement recovery questions section.
What Is The Treatment Of A Hyperextended Knee
Typical treatment of a hyperextended knee is based on the RICE principle, which includes:
- Rest: The activity that caused the hyperextended knee must be immediately stopped, and the knee should be rested. Its necessary to seek medical assistance. High-intensity activities and contact sports must be completely avoided during rest. The doctor may give anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Ice: A piece of ice placed inside a small towel or piece of cloth should be applied to the affected knee for up to 15 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling and get some relief from pain.
- Compression: Wrapping the knee with a compression wrap or elastic support bandage reduces swelling and pain.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured knee above the heart whenever possible. This can be done by lying down on a bed with the leg resting on a pillow or comfortable support.
Treatment of severe cases of a hyperextended knee
- Surgery: Although surgery is less common, in severe cases, a hyperextended knee can result in tendon tear, tissue damage, or misalignment of the knee that requires surgical repair. Common surgical procedures include:
- Arthroscopy: Arthroscopic surgery involves inserting a small endoscopic camera through a small incision to get a clear view of the affected area and repair knee damages.
- Reconstruction: Reconstructive surgery may be performed to repair tissue damage caused by a hyperextended knee.
Prevention of a hyperextended knee
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When Can A Patient Return To Work
This is a common question after knee replacement surgery and entirely depends on the nature of work the patient performs as part of their occupation. For those patients who work in jobs that are relatively sedentary such as office work, returning to work after 2 to 3 weeks is perfectly reasonable however, for patients whose work demands more of them physically, e.g., fireman, police officer, these patients are usually recommended to wait at least 6 weeks before returning to work.
This is because muscle recovery is usually sufficient by 6 weeks to allow for the normal duties of these more physically demanding occupations at this point in time. However, it is also a case that even for the more physically demanding occupations, if a modification of these duties is available to the patients for the postoperative recovery period then this would potentially allow for an early return to work.
Preparation For Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery usually will undergo a pre-operative surgical risk assessment. When necessary, further evaluation will be performed by an internal medicine physician who specializes in pre-operative evaluation and risk-factor modification. Some patients will also be evaluated by an anesthesiologist in advance of the surgery.
Routine blood tests are performed on all pre-operative patients. Chest X-rays and electrocardiograms are obtained in patients who meet certain age and health criteria as well.
Surgeons will often spend time with the patient in advance of the surgery, making certain that all the patients questions and concerns, as well as those of the family, are answered.
The surgeons office should provide a reasonable estimate of:
- the surgeons fee
- the degree to which these should be covered by the patients insurance.
Total Knee Replacement Surgical Team
The total knee requires an experienced orthopedic surgeon and the resources of a large medical center. Some patients have complex medical needs and around surgery often require immediate access to multiple medical and surgical specialties and in-house medical, physical therapy, and social support services.
Finding an experienced surgeon to perform your total knee replacement
Some questions to consider asking your knee surgeon:
- Are you board certified in orthopedic surgery?
- Have you done a fellowship in joint replacement surgery?
- How many knee replacements do you do each year?
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